Bernie Anderson
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Current musings, whatever they may be. 

The Soccer Player: A Parable

Should a soccer player play on a baseball team? 

Should a soccer player play on a baseball team? 

Once there was a soccer player who categorically loved the game of soccer. He loved everything about it. The way the game progresses on the field. The fluid motion between the ball and the players. The teamwork necessary to win. The way offense and defense works together to accomplish the same goal and the ultimate purpose: winning the game for the mother team. He loved to play the game and he loved how the game was played and he loved the particular manner the team functions together as one.

He loved that sport.

One day, the soccer player was asked to start playing for a baseball team. It was a good baseball team with excellent players. An athlete is an athlete, after all, and the baseball team really needed the help. Soccer is a sport with the objective of winning the game. Baseball is also a sport with an objective of winning the game. Surely a soccer player would be able to perform well on a baseball team?

So he not only changed teams, he changed sports.

Things started out well. The baseball players were happy to have the soccer player as a part of their team. He was fast and able to do some things a little differently for them. The soccer player was glad to learn new skills and to be a part of this new game.

However, things began to go sour.

Baseball has strict rules regarding how the game is played. Runners must run along the baselines and players must wait on the bench and play when they're told. And where they're told. Offense and defense are not on the field at the same time. There is a lot more sitting and waiting to play. This made the soccer player a little antsy.

One time, the soccer player hit the ball, and ignorantly ran to second base instead of first base, assuming, that like in the sport he knew and loved, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. The baseball players became frustrated and angry with the soccer player. He wasn't a "team player". He didn't follow the rules. He didn't do his job.

After some time, the soccer player did learn the game of baseball. He learned to play the game in an efficient manner, and to function as something of a baseball player. He wore the uniform. He mostly followed the rules. He even made some good plays for the team on occasion. It was, after all, his sincere desire to win some games for the mother team. That's the goal no matter what kind of team one plays for. He did his job.

But sometimes it's not enough to just do a job.

The soccer player on the baseball team began to long for the freedom of an open field, like a blank canvas spread before the artist, full of potential plays and strategies. He longed for the sort of teamwork which exists on a soccer field, which is very different from the sort of teamwork which exists on the baseball diamond. The unspoken signals; fluid motion between offense and defense; versatility; the flexibility and variety of each position.

Baseball began to seem more and more of a chore. A job. Tedious. Boring, even.

One, two, three. You're out.

The soccer player's conflict of soul began to expose itself to others on the baseball team. Animosity continued to boil. It was mostly under the surface. But it was there. The soccer player's longing to play on a soccer team became more pronounced, as he began to dread, and even despise the inner workings of the baseball team. Turns out, not all athletes are the same. Sometimes they are playing a different game.

Finally, the day came that it all began to make sense to everyone. A baseball player should play for a baseball team. A soccer player should play for a soccer team. Maybe both teams could play for one organization, someday. Maybe there should be an organizational sporting complex which allows baseball players to play baseball and soccer players to play soccer.

But that was not to be for now.

The soccer player left the baseball team and began to seek out a soccer team of which he could be a part.

Everyone was happier.